New Campaign Promotes Conservation Ethic in China for Green Olympics

11/14/2006

Goals Are Increased Awareness and Pride in Protecting Nature

Beijing � A new campaign by Conservation International (CI) and the China Environment Culture Promotion Association seeks to increase public pride in protecting China�s rich and unique nature so the nation can host a truly �Green Olympics� in 2008.

Called �China: For Our Natural Splendor,� the two-year campaign launched at Beijing University�s Centennial Hall involves a series of programs and activities to create a conservation ethic in the nation of 1.3 billion people for the Beijing Olympics and beyond.

�Conservation is still marginalized in China � little more than simple slogans and often perceived as irrelevant to people's daily lives,� said Lu Zhi, the CI vice president who heads the organization�s China program. �Eating habits, transportation choices, consumption patterns and business decisions all have an impact on the environment. Mainstreaming conservation and increasing the public's awareness of the value of nature can influence lifestyle choices and determine China's ecological future.�

Environmentalists from the government and business sectors, literary and artistic circles, and the athletic world joined CI Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann at the ceremony opening the campaign.

China includes three of the world�s 34 biodiversity hotspots � regions of exceptionally rich varieties of life that are under considerable threat. The Chinese government has started major programs to protect the environment under its 2008 Green Olympics strategy.

The new campaign by CI and the China Environment Culture Promotion Association seeks to unite the government�s efforts with grassroots organizations to generate widespread public support for the Green Olympics goals of promoting an ecologically friendly lifestyle, protecting the environment, and retaining nature�s splendor. Specific objectives are to reduce wildlife consumption by making it unfashionable, raise awareness of global climate change, and establish a China Freshwater Conservation Fund as a legacy of the 2008 Olympics.

The campaign plans activities including conservation public service announcements, green photography exhibitions, a green dinner table pledge, and a contest to recognize the 10 communities that live most harmoniously with nature to run from now through the 2008 Olympics.

By instilling civic pride in protecting nature and demonstrating how humans can live in harmony with nature, the campaign will create a cultural heritage to reduce the environmental impact of China�s people on their homeland.

As a first step, the opening ceremony was a �zero carbon emissions� event, with plans to create an ecology trail and plant 250 trees at a pilot site in Yunnan province to offset the carbon outputs in staging it. Organizers intend for the 2008 Olympics to also be carbon neutral.

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